Latest Posts

Good news for Australian agriculture in China

November 18, 2014

Australian Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said the announcement of a free trade agreement between Australia and China was an historic step in advancing the opportunities for Australia’s agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry sectors. Read More »

Researchers uncover tomato’s genetic history

November 13, 2014

Two years after the sequencing of the genome of one variety of tomato, scientists have sequenced the genomes of 360 tomato varieties. By analysing the relationships among these genomes, Sanwen Huang of the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and his colleagues have reconstructed the genetic history of the tomato, from its origins as a pea-sized wild plant growing in South America’s Andes region to the many varieties found worldwide today. The research appears in Nature.Read more at:

Fish Feed From Vegetable Waste

November 12, 2014
Adult Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens).

Australian consumers love fish and seafood with consumption doubling over the last 10 years, and expected to continue to grow. However, most aquaculture species are fed, at least in part, on fishmeal made from wild caught fish, which is not only unsustainable, but also a major factor limiting increased production. Meal made from insect larvae has been proposed as an alternative. Insects are high in protein and fat, can be reared on waste products and are part of the natural diet of some farmed fish species. This article reviews an Australian study that examines the potential use of vegetable wastes to grow insect larvae, which can then be used in aquaculture and aquaponic feeds. By STEVEN CARRUTHERS Read More »

Scientists reveal secrets of insect evolution

November 10, 2014

Using genetic analysis, scientists have been able to conclusively establish that insects originated about 480 million years ago, and that they developed the ability to fly some 80 million years later. Read More »

The Promise of Aquaponics

November 3, 2014
Steven Carruthers

This issue has a strong focus on aquaponics, and points to the future of food production systems at a practical level to feed a growing population. However, commercial aquaponics has a long way to go before devotees can earnestly claim it is a sustainable food production system. Read More »

Blooming in the City

November 2, 2014
Cityblooms pilot project in 2001 involved many engineering/logistical challenges.

In the US, one company has teamed with a leading tech firm to develop innovative micro-farm modules to grow fresh produce in the heart of the city.


Is there a culture of denial with hydroponic produce?

October 31, 2014
Rick Donnan

On hydroponics generally, is there a culture of denial by retailers? If so, what is the reason?

My wife and I were in the vegetable section of our local supermarket recently and asked someone who bore the title of Assistant Manager whether the lettuce and tomatoes we were buying were hydroponic. He said he didn’t know but shouted across to one of the shelf stackers whether he knew. “Hydro what?” was the reply.

Surely, retailers must know what they are selling? We even phoned the customer service department of the lettuce grower and no one knew there either!

Is there a deliberate culture of silence on the subject and if so for what reason? Are vegetables grown in soil presumed to be ‘good’ and those grown hydroponically ‘bad’?

The lettuce we bought was we presume hydroponic.The roots were quite long and still attached. What we are curious about is what appear to be a scattering of ‘metallic’ pieces embedded in the roots. This is presumably fertiliser. Do you know what it is? Read More »